So many varieties of pumpkin breads are showcased in restaurants and home kitchens every fall. Tasty and comforting, these breads are mixed up quickly and fill your kitchen with autumn aromas you cannot resist. Though quick breads are good, I was thinking of making a bread that is more typical, but with pumpkin. You know the type. Add the yeast, knead it, and give it time to rise and rise again and end up with a light bread perfect for toasting or grilling in a sandwich. Did I mention I wanted it to be pumpkin as well? I have attempted a pumpkin yeast bread before but each effort usually resulted in a bread that looked more like a quick bread that didn’t rise well and had a strong flavor of yeast. No thanks! I had a hard time finding a recipe I like so I came up with my own. I have made it twice and it turned out just about perfect each time. You could easily make these into pumpkin dinner rolls for your holiday table. I used a stand mixer for my bread but if you are good at kneading bread (not me) you could adapt the recipe to make it without a stand mixer. I think you could also put all the ingredients in a bread machine, hit the dough cycle, and then complete this recipe as it is. This recipe makes one nice-sized loaf. There are some tricks to keep in mind that I learned the hard way. Your butter or margarine must be at room temperature as do your eggs and milk. Also check the date on your package of dry yeast to be sure it is very fresh. Yes, old yeast isn’t very enthusiastic and your bread will look like it once done. The biggest tip is to be patient. This bread dough is a bit more sticky and gooey at first, so a stand mixer works well. I baked my bread, sliced and froze a few pieces and when these were thawed they were as perfect as the slices I did not freeze. I also got to the point where I shaped the loaf for the second rise and froze the loaf. I thawed it in my refrigerator and it rose and baked perfectly. Make a loaf or two and enjoy this unique pumpkin bread. As I write this I am thinking I will use this pumpkin bread dough for cinnamon rolls. Oh my, that might be really good too!
Sift together and set aside:
3 ½ all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packet, 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Mix together in a separate bowl: (All at room temp.)
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup milk
2-tablespoons maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter or margarine at room temp you have cut into small, quarter-inch pieces.
Fit the dough hook on your stand mixer. Place the sifted dry ingredients in the bowl. Pour in the liquid, mixed ingredients in the bowl and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix an additional two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing a minute or two with each egg. Scrape the bowl. Your mixture will be gooey. Turn your mixer on medium-high and add the butter a few cubes at a time, being sure to completely blend them in before you add the other butter cubes. This will take a bit so be patient. Once all the butter is mixed in the dough increase the speed to medium-high for a full ten minutes. It will become less and less sticky as the dough is kneaded. Your dough will smooth and silky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles. This will take close to 2 hours. Take the dough out and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 6 – 8 times. Shape into a loaf and place in a 9 x 5 loaf pan you have coated with baking spray. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator from 4 to 12 hours. Remove the pan from the refrigerator to a warm, draft-free spot and allow to rise and get puffy, about one to one and one half hours. The dough will continue to rise as it bakes. Bake in a preheated 400˚ oven for about 30 – 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from the pan and cool thoroughly before slicing.